Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
The Degree Known as Made Free from Heredom

1996/2015


The ritual of this degree is loosely based upon events related in the 15th. and 16th. Chapters of the Second Book of Chronicles.
In style, it similar to ceremonies of the Rite of Perfection, one precursor of the A. & A. S. R. of 33 Degrees. The ritual is divided into two parts, the first being conducted in a Council of Princes and the second in a Lodge of Freedom. The first part is a ritual demonstration of what British Freemasons would recognise to be a Traditional History which, in British Freemasonry, is usually read or recited but rarely enacted. The theme of the ceremony is the discovery and liberation of the 'Lost" or 13th. Tribe" of Israel and its moral lesson is that Truth should never be feared nor should it be denied.
It is quite possible that this degree was carried by mariners or soldiers from Normandy or Holland to the North East of England, however as with many of the other Appendant Degrees, there can be no certainty that was the ritual worked at Newcastle although the title and theme are of such rarity as to allow some positive conjecture on the matter.



Part one
The Council of the 12 Tribes of Israel


The characters:
ASA: KING OF ISRAEL
MICAH: HIGH PRIEST (Prince of the Tribe of JUDAH)
MERED: PROVOST (Prince of the Tribe of REUBEN)
HARAN: CHIEF JUDGE (Prince of the Tribe of ISSACHER)
SHAPHAN: ROYAL SCRIBE (Prince of the Tribe of SIMEON)
ISHBAK: CHAMBERLAIN (Prince of the Tribe of NAPHTALI)
GIDEON: GENERAL OF THE 12 TRIBES (Prince of the Tribe of JUDAH)
MELZAR: ROYAL STEWARD (Prince of the Tribe of BENJAMIN)
ABIJAH: HERALD (Prince of the Tribe of ZEBULUN)
GUARDS: The Princes of the Four remaining Tribes.
EGLAN : King of the Moabites
ZIPPOR : Moabite Tetrarch
MELCAR : The Candidate.
 
 

The King sits in the East with the Princes of the 12 Tribes arranged in a semi circle facing him. Each Prince has his own pedestal and at which is a staff or rod upon which hangs the standard of his tribe. Before the Opening as each Prince goes to take up his position, he must pass the pedestal of the Scribe and deposit with him a tablet confirming his being the representative of his Tribe (possibly alluding to the tablets given to each Tribe by Moses.) The regalia is a blue collar and a blue cordon knotted at the waist with the drop falling on the right hip. Other members of the degree wear no regalia and sit along the South and North sides of the room. They take NO part in the ceremony other than proving themselves holders of the degree on being asked. The King carries a sceptre and the Chamberlain a staff.
When the all the Princes have assembled (with the exception of Gideon whose seat remains empty) and have taken their places, the Chamberlain arises and walks to the door where he knocks once on the floor with his staff.
ISHB:
Brother Princes, you will stand and receive our Illustrious King. All stand with the Sign of Salutation which is the S.of F. with the fist clenched. Prince Melz.ar, advise the King that we are assembled and await him.
The Steward and the four Guards exit the Council. The door is then opened and the King enters, proceeded by the Steward and the Chief Guard with the three Guards behind him. When the party enters the Steward says:
MELZ:
Brother Princes - The King. The King proceeds to his place and returns the salute, after which all are seated.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Scribe, have you received the Tokens of the 12 Tribes from those present?
SHAP:
O Illustrious King, all here have deposited a Token with me and are present by right and by rank. Our Brother Gideon the Prince of Judah is not yet amongst us for even now he returns to Jerusalem with our armies.
ASA:
Let it be so recorded. Knocks * with sceptre. Do you have any letters or other documents requiring the attention of this Council?
Shaplum replies accordingly.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Chamberlain, do you have any business to lay before this Council?
ISHB:
None that is our private concern, O Illustrious King, but I would advise that there are two distinguished visitors, presently in the ante-chamber, who desire to enter this Council to pledge their friendship.
ASA:
Who are they?
ISHB:
The Moabite King and one of his Governors, O Illustrious King.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Steward, you will instruct the Chief Guard to summon these visitors.
Melzar repeats the King's instructions to the Chief Guard who then retires. There is then one knock upon the door.
MELZ:
Brother Prince and Chamberlain, there is an alert at the door.
ISHB:
O Illustrious King, there is an alert at the door of this Council.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Chamberlain, you will instruct the Steward to establish the cause of the alert and if it be our visitors, he should admit them forthwith.
Melzar opens the door, looks through it and closes it again. He then beckons to the Herald, Abijah who approaches and consults the Steward, and then turns to face the King.
ABIJ:
O Illustrious King of this Council of the Twelve Tribes, I pronounce that Eglan, King of our allies the Moabites, and his Governor Zippor, will now enter our Council. Princes, be upstanding. All except the King stand but without the Sign of Salute. Eglan and Zippor enter and approach the King and stand before him in the East.
EGLAN:
O Illustrious King and Royal ally, I come to pledge the friendship of my people and to celebrate our victory over the Ethiopians.
ASA:
You are most welcome my Royal Brother, and truly, the victory of our armies over the invader from the South is reason enough for celebration. You will join us at a great feast. Who accompanies you?
EGLAN:
This is Zippor, the uncle of my wife, who is my Governor over one fourth of the lands of Moab.
ASA:
Welcome to this Council, Zippor. In which provinces do you rule in the name of your King?
ZIPP:
O Illustrious King, I am Tetrarch over the Provinces of Zoar, Kir and Heredom.
ASA:
I know well the lands of Zoar and Kir but tell me of this Province of Heredom for I have heard little of it.
As Zippor is about to reply, Eglan lays his hand upon him to restrain him and instead, Eglan responds:
EGLAN:
My Royal Brother, that Province is but small and worthless for it lies in the mountains in the east of our land where there are few inhabitants and only a few poor farms. This is why you have heard little or nothing of this place, for indeed, there is nothing about Heredom that is worth the telling.
ASA:
It sounds to be a worthless land indeed. Now let us retire and celebrate our victory with food and wine. Knocks *. The King rises as do all the other Princes but before they move there is a loud crash upon the door and before the Steward can respond it is thrown open and Gideon enters.
ASA, sternly:
Has our Brother and Prince, the General been so overcome with the euphoria of victory that he deems to enter this Council without due respect? Guards, remove him from our presence. The Guards rise but Gideon calls:
GID:
Wait! O illustrious King Hear me. I have such news, which in my haste to bring to you caused me to interrupt this Council. I offer my apology. Bows his head,
ASA:
So be it. Sits. Let the Council resume. Knocks * and all resume their seats. We will hear what you have to say.
GID:
O Illustrious King, after vanquishing the Ethiopians, we pursued them through the Land of Moab until they were either slain or dispersed. After the campaign we rested for some time in the furthest part of Moab, that which is called Heredom, so that our soldiers might be refreshed and that our wounded could be healed. One night as we prepared for sleep, the guards were alerted by a sound and on investigation they found a man, poorly clothed, weak from hunger and near death from exhaustion. His wrists were bound by chains and he was unable to speak and appeared feeble.
He was taken to our physicians who cared for him for he was very near to death. Such was his condition that it was several days before his mind was cured but even then he still had no power of speech. As we were breaking camp to return to Israel he was placed upon a litter for the ease of his comfort and on seeing me he beckoned to me thus and although he could not speak, he bade me come near. As I bent over him he drew something from his belt and passed it into my hand. When I looked upon what he had given me, I saw that it was a tablet, on which were characters in our tongue but since none knew of its meaning, I brought here with me. Holds up the tablet. From its general shape and form it appears to be similar to the Token entrusted to me by the Elders of the Tribe of Judah.
ASA:
Pass the tablet to our Brother and Prince the Scribe for he is well versed in the writings and records of our peoples.
Gideon hands tablet to Shaphan who looks at it and appears to be surprised.
SHAP:
O Illustrious King, this is indeed a Token of the Tribes of Israel for it bears the name of your ancestor King David.
ASA:
How can this be? It has been long recorded that only the Twelve Tribes and the Levites are the peoples of the Land of Israel.
SHAP:
It is written that there was a 13th Tribe which was lost but this has long been held to be naught but a fable. With your permission I will study the old records of the Scribes of Israel to discover if there is anything relating to this matter in the scrolls.
ASA:
Let this be done with haste for we will have the answer to this matter.
Shaphan leaves his pedestal and retires, giving the S. of S. at the door.

ASA:
Brother Prince and General, where is this man?
GID:
He awaits without the door of the Council, O Illustrious King, and is now much recovered from his hardship, for even this day he has been able to discourse with his physicians.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Chamberlain, you will attend upon the man and seek out what he knows of this matter, thereafter you will bring him before us and make a report
Ishbak leaves his pedestal and retires giving the S. of S. at the door. After he has done so, Eglan rises.
EGLAN:
My Royal Brother, since it now appears that this Council has important affairs to discuss, will you grant us leave to retire so that you may consider your deliberations?
GID:
O Iliustrious King, since we found this man in the Lands of the Moabite King, should he not remain with us until we have settled this matter for there may be intelligence which will be of interest to him?
ASA:
Eglan, our Brother Prince, the General has spoken well and I would will it that you and Zippor remain with us for a time.
Eglan assumes his seat with obvious agitation. There then comes a knock at the door which reported as before and Alelzar reports that Ishbak and Shaphan, with another, wish to enter, to which Asa gives his assent. The candidate is brought in and stands in the West with Ishbak on his right and Shaphan on his left.
ISHB:
O Illustrious King, I present unto you Melcar, who was brought here by the army of Israel.
ASA:
Melcar, I will speak with you presently, but first let us hear the reports of the Princes, the Chamberlain and the Scribe.
ISHB:
O Illustrious King, Melcar states that when the Tribes of Israel were laid down, the Tribe of Mannaseh was given unto two parts.
Under the part given to Iddo, was the family of Nahum the Gershonite. Nahum was displeased and appealed to David saying, that as bis kinsmen, numbered at that time, four and twenty thousand, then they should also be considered as a Tribe of Israel.
King David knew that such recognition would cause consternation among the other Tribes and that Nahum could not offer the required tribute, yet he had sympathy with this plea. The King therefore, offered Nahum a bargain that he would indeed designate Nahum and his followers as a Tribe of Israel but that they must leave their poor lands and seek the riches that were required for the tribute. When the tribute was gathered then they should return to the King, who would then proclaim the Tribe of Nahum.
Nahum agreed to this bargain and on that very night, under the cloak of darkness, Nahum gathered up his people, his animals and all their possessions and left Israel to seek the tribute. As Nahum departed, King David appeared in his train and delivered unto him the Token of the 13th.Tribe, the self same tablet which was brought by Gideon, our Brother and Prince.
ASA:
Brother Prince and Scribe, have your researches into the old records uncovered any proofs of this claim?
SHAP:
O Illustrious King, I have indeed discovered a document, written in the hand of King David himself, which confirms the agreement between him and Nahum. However, there is also a notation on the document, written by a scribe after the death of King David, which states that after a period of thirty years, nothing more has been heard of the Tribe of Nahum and as such it was presumed that some great calamity had fallen upon them and that all had perished.
ISHB:
O Illustrious King, I have long discussed this matter with Melcar, who is the great grandson of Nahum, and what I will now reveal is a tale of great dishonour and foul treatment of our kin. Melcar relates that Nahum, in his search for the wealth needed to assemble his tribute, entered into the Land of Moab and journeyed many days hence until they came into the part of that Land known as Heredom. When they arrived they spoke unto to the Moabitish King, Bedek, the grandfather of Eglan, and offered their labour in return for a just recompense, from which they would gather their tribute.
Now, there was a gold mine in Heredom which was secret, known only to the family of the Moabitish King and those who superintended the slaves whose toil produced the gold. But a deathly plague had swept among the slaves, leaving all dead from disease. King Bedek, wishing to maintain the location of the gold mine secret from his people, then asked Nahum if he would set his followers to work in the gold mines, and in return, one twentieth part of all the gold would be set aside for the Tribe of Nahum. Nahum readily agreed and bis Tribe were taken over the Bridge of Zered and through a secret pass in the mountains, to the gold mines.
After some four years of back breaking labour, the Tribe had accumulated enough gold to pay the tribute twice over but when Nahum approached Bedek to ask for the gold and permission to leave to return to Israel, Bedek took the gold and cast Nahum and all his Tribe into slavery. Even unto this day, and after the passing of four generations, the Moabites still hold the Nahumites captive and allow no stranger to enter Heredom. Such, O King, is the report of Melcar!
ASA, rises in anger and points at Eglan:
Eglan, you are a false man, a false king and unworthy of this Council!
EGLAN:
O Illustrious Brother, from Melcar's lips comes no truth. This tale is but one of wonder and falsehood. Where is the proof of this false accusation?
ASA:
Indeed, there can be two parts to every matter, how can we be assured of who tells the truth and who does not?
MICAH:
O Illustrious King, in the Scrolls of the Scribes it is written that the Tokens of the Tribes may be employed to determine the truth.
ASA:
Tell us Brother Prince and High Priest, in what manner may this be done?
MICAH:
It is said that those in dispute must lay their right hands upon a holy altar dedicated to the mighty Schaddai, then the point of a dagger shall be placed against the flesh of the hand. Thereafter, the Token must be placed on the hilt of the weapon. To those who have spoken the truth, the token shall be as the feather of a lark and cause no harm, but if a falsehood has been uttered, the token shall have the weight of a mountain and the flesh shall be pierced and the hand skewered to the altar.
ASA to the Candidate:
Melcar, will you submit to this trial?
MELC, prompted by Ashbak:
Willingly, O Illustrious King.
ASA:
Eglan, will you also submit?
EGLAN:
It is beneath the dignity of my Royal person to submit to such a trial, however my Governor Zippor will act for me for surely, Chemosh, the God of Moab, will prove mightier than the God of Israel.
Melcar advances to the altar and willingly places his right hand upon it. Zippor hesitates and two the Guards take him and hold his hand down on the altar. Horan approaches with the dagger and the Token of Nahum and applies the test to Melcar, without result. As the dagger point is placed on Zippor's hand, he breaks free and runs from the Council chamber.
ASA, rises and points at Eglan:
Eglan, you are condemned by the actions of him in whom you placed your trust Guards, Seize him. Two guards take Eglan by the arms and force him to kneel before Asa.
EGLAN:
Mercy, O Illustrious King, I cannot be held responsible for the deeds of my ancestors.
ASA:
Is it not written that the sins of the fathers are visited upon their sons and even unto every succeeding generation? You will have my mercy however, when you have scripted an instruction to Moab, to set free the Tribe of Nahum and dispatch them forthwith into Israel bearing a hundred talents of gold. Until the Nahumites set foot in this, the Land of their birthright, you will be held captive in the greatest deprivation with your wrists bound in chains as you kept my countrymen and only then will you be banished forever to your own Land. Guards, bind him in chains and remove him from our presence. This is done.
ASA:
Let Melcar be presented to me. Ishbak and Shaphan bring the Candidate before Asa in the East, The Princes of the Tribes all rise.
ASA:
Brother Princes of Israel, do you recognise Melcar, Prince of the Tribe of Nahum, as the representative of the 13th Tribe of Israel and that he be duly permitted to take his rightful place in this Council?
Each Prince assents in turn, by standing and giving the S. of S. and then resuming his seat.
ASA:
Let it now be recorded that Melcar, Price of the Tribe of Nahum, is hereby acknowledged and may take his place among us, for I declare that he and his Tribe are, by my hand, now and forever, made free from Heredom in the Land of Moab. Let Melcar be escorted to his rightful place.
A 13th station is added to the semi-circle of Princes and Melcar is placed there.
Thereafter the Council is closed as in the manner of the Opening.

 

Part Two
The Lodge of Freedom


In Part 2, the Lodge is as per a Craft Lodge, with a Perfect Master, First and Second Wardens, Chaplain. DoC, Inner Guard and Sentinel. ln the Lodge the Officers remove the blue cordon but retain the collar.
PM:
By the authority afforded me under our Laws, I announce that this Lodge of Freedom is now regularly open.
Knocks * ** * ** which are repeated by the Wardens, I.G. and Sentinel..
PM:
Brother DoC, will you now present the Candidate before the Lodge.
DoC retires and re-enters without an alarm. The Cand. is brought into the Lodge over a strip of carpet at either side of which are stands with rope hung on them, representing a bridge. He is then placed before the altar, on which lies the Holy Scripture opened at 1st. Chronicles v. 15.
PM:
Brother (by name), in the preceding drama, you were informed as to the historical basis of this ceremony, being grounded on the account of the discovery of the 13th Tribe of Israel and, as Melcar, you were the representative of that Tribe. You now enter this Lodge, as the Nahumites entered Heredom, over a representation of the Bridge of Zered, signifying your passage from the Council to this Lodge. Before I can relate to you further aspects of this Degree, I must ascertain that you are willing to give your pledge of loyalty and secrecy. Are you prepared to do so? Cand. assents. Then you will remain standing and place your left hand on the Holy Word and your right flat upon the altar. Cand. does so. Brother DoC, assume your position.
DoC stands to the right side of the altar and holds the tip of a dagger to the back of the Candidate's right hand.
PM:
Brethren, be upstanding. All rise.
Addressing Candidate:
Do you Brother states full names, solemnly pledge that you will never reveal the Secrets of the Council of Princes nor of this Lodge of Freedom under any circumstances whatsoever, nor will you admit any other to its membership, unless under the strict conditions laid down in our Laws. Do you Pledge this under the penalty of having your right hand pierced with a dagger so that the scar will ever identify you as one who is incapable of Truth.
Cand.:
I so pledge myself.
PM:
The lesson of this Degree is that Truth can never be hidden. By placing your faith in God, the Truth will ever be acknowledged, no matter how great and powerful are those who may gainsay you. If you have the cow-age to hold to your Truths, then irrespective of the powers of those ranged against you, the Truth will overcome. To enter into a Council of Princes you must possess a Token which is given to every entrant and which you must ensure never falls into profane hands.
When the Token is delivered to the Scribe, if you are unknown to him you will be asked for the Pass Word which is Tribute, and the Passing In Sign which is given by extending the right arm straight out from the body with the palm of the hand facing upwards and then bending the right forearm backwards towards you from the elbow. This is the manner in which Melcar attracted the attention of Gideon when he could not speak. In the Council, the Sign of Salutation is given by placing the right arm across the chest with the fingers clenched.
In the Lodge of Freedom, the same sign is used as the Pass Sign at the door of the Lodge and the Working Sign is given by placing the tip of your left index finger on the back of your right hand in allusion to the penalty of breaking your Pledge. You may now take your place among us. Does so, escorted by the DoC.
 

Closing


PM:
Brother First Warden, do you have any matters to raise?
FW, if there is no business to be transacted:
None, Perfect Master.
PM:
Brother Second Warden?
SW, if he has no other matters to communicate:
None, Perfect Master.
PM:
Then again, by die authority afforded to by our Laws, I declare this Lodge closed.
Knocks * ** * ** which are repeated as before.


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